San Diego (1-1) at Denver (1-1)

Fair Currently: Denver, CO
Temp: 60° F
  • Game info: 4:05 pm EDT Sun Sep 26, 2004
  • TV: CBS
Preview | Box Score | Recap

If Quentin Griffin hopes to become the Denver Broncos’ next great running back, he will need to do a better job of holding on to the ball.

Griffin, whose fumble last weekend likely cost the Broncos a win, hopes to bounce back in a matchup with the San Diego Chargers.

Griffin fumbled a handoff on the Jacksonville 23-yard line with about 30 seconds to play in a 7-6 loss to the Jaguars on Sunday.

The lost fumble was Griffin’s second of the year and dropped Denver to minus-3 in turnover differential.

“You’ve got to be realistic. I let the ball go,” he said. “I appreciate that they want me to stay encouraged. I appreciate those guys. I don’t want to dwell on it. But I let a lot of people down. I don’t expect to do that again.”

The Broncos have been able to maintain a potent rushing attack through years of transition at running back. Griffin seems to have the potential to be Denver’s next 1,000-yard rusher, but the Broncos also expect their runners to take care of the ball. In Denver’s opener, Griffin lost a fumble in the Kansas City end zone, but the error was overlooked as he ran for 156 yards and two touchdowns.

Clinton Portis, who was traded to Washington for cornerback Champ Bailey in the offseason, fumbled just four times from 2002-03. Terrell Davis and Mike Anderson had three fumbles in 342 attempts in 2001.

Broncos coach Mike Shanahan said the first fumble was a mistake of inexperience—Griffin was too nonchalant as he headed for what he thought would be an easy touchdown. The one against Jacksonville wasn’t anything to be concerned about either, he insisted.

Denver will be without defensive end Trevor Pryce, who is expected to have surgery this week to remove a disk fragment from his lower back. He’s expected to be out four to six weeks, the first significant time he’ll miss due to injury in his eight-year career.

Pryce, a four-time Pro Bowler, was declared inactive the first eight games of his rookie season, but from then through the end of last season, he played in all but one of Denver’s 104 regular-season games.

After an 8 1/2-sack year in 2003, the four-time Pro Bowl selection proclaimed himself in the best shape of his life. But he hurt his back last month, and hasn’t felt right since.

Pryce’s loss hurts an already banged up line. Defensive tackle Luther Elliss (pectoral muscle) is on the mend. The Broncos also had to re-sign tackle Darius Holland, who was released before the regular season.

On Monday, Denver traded a conditional 2005 draft pick to Atlanta for tackle Ellis Johnson, who never reported to Falcons camp this season. Johnson led all interior linemen last season with eight sacks.

San Diego expects Drew Brees to remain its starting quarterback after sustaining a mild concussion in a 34-28 loss to the New York Jets on Sunday.

“At this point I’m looking great for Sunday,” Brees said Monday. “I feel a lot better today than I did yesterday after the game and last night. Things are coming back. I should be ready to go.”

Brees was only 3-of-12 for 74 yards with two interceptions before the concussion. Afterward he was 5-of-7 for 72 yards and a TD, although he did lose a fumble. Brees was hurt late in the third quarter on a helmet-to-helmet hit with safety Jon McGraw, who was called for roughing the passer.

Three Chargers starters suffered minor injuries Sunday. Running back LaDainian Tomlinson has a jammed big toe, tight end Antonio Gates a sprained foot and linebacker Randall Godfrey needed stitches to close head and mouth cuts. All are expected to play Sunday.

Tomlinson is on his way to another strong season, posting 208 yards and two touchdowns on the ground and 72 yards receiving. He had 2,360 total yards last season.

Related Articles

Team Stat Leaders

Passing Yards
Rushing Yards
Receiving Yards


Week 5
  Sunday, Oct 10  
FieldPass Detroit
Atlanta 17
10 Final
  NY Giants
Dallas 26
10 Final
FieldPass Minnesota
Houston 34
28 Final
FieldPass Oakland
Indianapolis 14
35 Final
New England 10
24 Final
FieldPass Tampa Bay
New Orleans 20
17 Final
FieldPass Cleveland
Pittsburgh 23
34 Final
FieldPass Buffalo
NY Jets 14
16 Final
FieldPass Jacksonville
San Diego 21
34 Final
FieldPass Carolina
Denver 17
20 Final
FieldPass Arizona
San Francisco 28
31 Final
FieldPass St. Louis
Seattle 33
27 Final
Washington 17
10 Final
      Monday, Oct 11 FieldPass
FieldPass Tennessee
Green Bay 48
27 Final